CCL's Peck discussed the standards employed by courts in determining punitive damages and when the jury's determination is deemed "grossly excessive" at a meeting in Philadelphia of the American Law Institute. The meeting was part of a decades-long process of developing a new Restatement on Torts to reflect developments in the law since the last project of this kind. Restatements are considered authoritative explanations of the law and developments.

     In the meeting of members who are part of the consultative group for development of this restatement, punitive damages became a central issue. Much of the discussion revolved around what the U.S. Supreme Court said in its 2007 decision in Philip Morris v. Williams, which established, for the first time, that a defendant had a right to a jury instruction, when properly requested, that limited some considerations in assessing punitive damages to the harm visited upon the plaintiff, even if the primary determinant, reprehensibility, could consider harm or potential harm to others. When the 5-4 decision was handed down, the dissenters, who included an unusual combination of Justices Ginsburg, Stevens, Scalia, and Thomas, found the type of instruction authorized to make little sense.

     Peck was able to speak especially knowledgeably about the case because he argued in the Supreme Court both for the 2007 decision and a subsequent return hearing that resulted in the Court allowing a 97:1 ratio to stand in 2009 after the Oregon Supreme Court held that Philip Morris had not properly requested the jury instruction.

     Revisions to the draft discussed at the Philadelphia meeting will occur.